Guangzhou (Simplified Chinese: 广州) (Traditional Chinese: 廣州), also known as Canton and alternatively romanized as Kwongchow or Kwangchow is the capital and the largest city of Guangdong province in southern China. Located on the Pearl River about 120 km north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road, and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub, as well as one of China's three largest cities. Due to a high urban population and large volumes of port traffic, Guangzhou is classified as a Large-Port Megacity, the largest type of port-city in the world.
- Thanks to a subtropical climate, Guangzhou is blessed with flowers all year round. So many that it has earned itself the nickname, ‘City of Flowers’. Its striking blooms are celebrated annually with the Spring Festival Flower Fair, when the streets and alleyways are awash with colour.
- For centuries, Guangzhou has intermittently been a nerve center for migrants, whether internal or foreign. When African traders arrived in the city in the early 2000s, they formed a particularly visible enclave -- partly because they tended to congregate in one or two relatively small areas, and partly because black skin had not before been widely seen in China in large numbers.
- Guangzhou, the Chinese city formerly known as Canton, is famous mainly for its commerce and its cuisine. Throw in eight-lane highways that loop every which way like giant concrete pretzels, and seemingly year-round gray skies, and it’s no wonder this industrial city along the Pearl River Delta of China has never been a tourist draw on par with, say, Shanghai or Beijing.
- "Up and Coming in Guangzhou" in The New York Times (1 May 2009)
- But public sympathy has limits, particularly since studies show that migrants are responsible for much of the city’s street crime. Most major Chinese cities feel very safe by American standards. Still, in Guangzhou, thefts, purse snatching, robberies and muggings have become common.
- Coastal cities such as Shanghai or Guangzhou now resemble their capitalist counterparts, Singapore and Hong Kong.
- Due to its strategic vulnerability, it was largely ignored in the central policy written up by Mao Zedong. However, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Guangzhou was one of the first cities earmarked for open market reforms under Deng Xiaoping's economic reform policies. Since then, Guangzhou has reclaimed its place as one of Chinas most prosperous and thriving cities.
- With a history of more than 2100 years, Guangzhou, despite its glory past, has now experienced a decline in the role as a central city in the region due to the rapid growth of cities in the Pearl River Delta. Guangzhou is also suffering from problems caused by congested inner city and unregulated growth of new development areas. The city’s structure has gradually changed from a compact model to leapfrogged urban sprawl. These problems are aggravated by limited land resource under its direct jurisdiction and the pressure to reposition itself in a regional development context that is more competitive than ever before.
- Jiang Xu, Anthony G.O. Yeh, City Profile: Guangzhou (2003), University of Hong Kong
- Maritime trade with important ports like Guangzhou and Quanzhou (in Fujian Province) has played a major role in developing cultural exchanges between India and South China. In the 3rd century BC, Guangzhou served as an important port.
- As the center of Cantonese culture, Guangzhou has a 4000-year civilization that can trace its roots to the Neolithic period. As a result of the intermingling of ethnic minority cultures, Han culture and foreign cultures, Cantonese culture is famous for its diversity and vitality.
- The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Guangzhou presents a particularly interesting case of a government-approved church serving multiple communities simultaneously. Balancing the needs of these communities—the Chinese Catholic community, expatriate and immigrant groups, particularly African migrants, the Church leadership—and the requirements of the local Chinese government, calls for sensitivity, adaptability, and a measure of openness to new forms of community participation. Due to the paradoxes and ambiguities in China’s religious policy, Catholic churches in China today enjoy relative autonomy from government control.
- Shanshan Lan, The Catholic Church’s Role in the African Diaspora in Guangzhou, China (2014), University of Amsterdam
- According to legend Guangzhou was surrounded by barren land before five men riding five rams came to the city pronging prosperity. The legend is immortalized with a statue that stands at the center of Guangzhou. As early as the 7th century Guangzhou had 200,000 foreign resident, including Arabs, Persians, Indians, Africans and Turks. It was the main trading center between China and Europe before Opium Wars and was where the events that sparked the Opium Wars (1839-42) took place
- Guangzhou's industrial, commercial, and residential areas have greatly expanded, particularly to the south and east of the city. Goods made in the Guangzhou area are sold all over the world marketed in nearly all countries. Light industrial manufacturing, including textiles, shoes, toys, furniture, and exportable consumer products, accounts for most of these exports. Principal heavy industries include shipbuilding, sugar refining equipment, and tool and motorcycle manufacturing. The metropolis has several auto factories, and aspires to be China's Detroit.